Tommy Beer

Basketball Daily Dose

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Dose: Cavs Still Streaking

Sunday, December 3, 2017


It was an extremely entertaining Saturday in the NBA, highlighted by King James’ Cavs streaking to their 11th straight victory, Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond going at it in Philly, and Giannis Antetokounmpo stuffing the stat sheet once again.

 

After recapping Saturday’s action, we’ll wrap up the Dose by taking a look at a number of players facing injury issues in Sunday’s games.

 

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Boston Celtics 116, Phoenix Suns 111:
The Celtics captured their league-leading 20th victory of the season on Saturday afternoon courtesy of a balanced attack from both starters and reserves. Al Horford was everywhere, finishing with 14 points, five rebounds, 11 assists, one block and two 3-pointers. The 11 dimes were a career high. Horford is now averaging 7.0 assists a night over his last five games. He is on pace to become just the fifth player in Celtics franchise history to average at least eight rebounds and five assists per game over a full season… Rookie Jayson Tatum also had a terrific all-around game. Tatum scored 15 points (on 6-of-8 shooting) and added six rebounds, two assists, two steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer.

 

Kyrie Irving led the team in scoring with 19 points but was relatively quiet until crunch time. Irving finished with zero rebounds, five assists, two steals and two 3-pointers… Marcus Morris scored 17 points with eight rebounds and one 3-pointer in 27 minutes. Prior to the game, Brad Stevens said he planned to lift Morris’ minutes limit (current set at 25-30 mins) in the near future… Marcus Smart tallied 13 points, four rebounds, seven assists, one block and two 3-pointers. Smart has been far more efficient of late and was 3-of-6 from the floor, including 2-of-5 from downtown, and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe on Saturday. Over his first 18 games this season, Smart shot over 40 percent from the field just once. He has shot 50 percent or better in three of his last four.

 

Devin Booker did his best to keep the Suns close, pouring in 38 points in his first game in Boston since he dropped 70 on the C’s last season. Booker also tacked on four rebounds, five assists and three 3-pointers. Booker is now averaging a cool 54.0 points over his last two trips to the TD Garden… T.J. Warren was hit above his right eye towards the end of the first half and was bleeding as he left the floor. He missed the start of the second half but able to return a few minutes into the third quarter after receiving four sutures to close the wound. Warren finished with 19 points, five rebounds, one assist, four steals and one 3-pointer in 36 minutes.

 

After being smacked with a DNP-CD on Wednesday, Tyson Chandler was re-inserted back into the starting lineup on Saturday. He made the most of his opportunity, scoring 14 points and pulling down a game-high 18 rebounds in 28 minutes. Alex Len (ankle) didn’t play in this one. Coach Jay Triano said Len could have entered the game if needed, but rest was the preferred option. Greg Monroe backed up Chandler and finished with six points, eight rebounds, three assists and one turnover. The Suns'' frontcourt situation is completely unpredictable (and wildly frustrating) right now, with three quality centers vying for two spots in the rotation. A trade is likely the only way it gets cleared up.

 

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Dallas Mavericks 108, Los Angeles Clippers 82:
The Mavs began this game on an 8-0 run and never looked back, demolishing the reeling Clippers. J.J. Barea registered his second double-double of the season with a season-high 21 points (on 8-of-12 shooting) and a game-high 10 assists, to go along with four boards and four 3-pointers in 24 minutes off the bench. Barea ranks third on the team in scoring this season (12.4) and first in assists (5.2)... Dirk Nowitzki tallied 16 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and a season-high five 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Nowitzki went a perfect 5-of-5 from beyond the arc… Devin Harris scored a season-high-tying 15 points and added three rebounds, three assists and one steal in 21 minutes… Dennis Smith Jr. was relatively quiet, with 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, one block and one 3-pointer.

 

The Clippers have been outscored by 45 points (234-189) in the two games they have played since Blake Griffin went down. There wasn't much positivity to take away from Saturday’s shellacking, other than DeAndre Jordan once again imposing his will in the paint. Jordan scored 14 points, grabbed 17 boards and blocked two shots in the loss to the Mavs. The question floating around Clipper-land right now is whether Doc Rivers and company choose to hold onto Jordan (who can become a free agent this summer), or trade him to kick-start a rebuild. The Bucks are the most recent team reportedly interested in acquiring him… Lou Williams had 18 points (on 4-of-16 shooting) and six assists, but nothing else… Wes Johnson had seven points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 28 minutes.

 

Atlanta Hawks 114, Nets 102:
The Hawks were playing without John Collins (shoulder) and Dewayne Dedmon (leg), but still managed to beat Brooklyn on Saturday. Dennis Schroder led the way with scored 24 points, three rebounds, six assists, one steal and one 3-pointer. The Hawks were already short on talent coming into the season; now, with two of their best frontcourt players sidelined, expect Schroder to take on even more responsibility on the offensive end of the floor… Ersan Ilyasova started at power forward and just missed a double-double, finishing with nine points, 11 rebounds, one steal and one turnover in 24 minutes… Luke Babbitt tallied 20 points (on 7-of-9 shooting) with two rebounds, one assist and four 3-pointers off the bench… Miles Plumlee made his first start of the season and registered six points, seven rebounds, two assists and three blocks in 19 minutes.

 

The Nets have lost five of their last seven, and this was arguably their most disappointing defeat of the season. Spencer Dinwiddie has been Brooklyn's only consistent/healthy fantasy producer over the last couple of weeks. Dinwiddie scored 15 points with six rebounds, nine assists, three blocks and three 3-pointers in 30 minutes on Saturday. He’s averaging 16.0 points, 7.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 treys and 1.4 blocks over his last five games… Allen Crabbe (sore lower back) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (sprained right ankle) were both back in action on Saturday. Crabbe, who had missed four straight games, tallied 12 points, three rebounds, two assists and three 3-pointers in 25 minutes. Hollis-Jefferson, returning from a two-game absence, finished with nine points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal and one turnover in 21 minutes… Jarrett Allen looked solid in limited playing time. He scored a career-high 12 points and added six rebounds, one assist and one block across 17 minutes.

 

Cleveland Cavs 116, Memphis Grizzlies 111:
LeBron James is unfair. He singlehandedly took over late in the fourth quarter Saturday night and carried the Cavs to their 11th straight victory. James finished with 34 points, 12 assists, two rebounds, a block and five turnovers. This was LeBron’s 63rd game with at least 30 points and 10 dimes. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three players in league history (Oscar Robertson, Nate Archibald, and Jerry West) have more such games. LeBron, who is the NBA’s leading fourth-quarter scorer this season, had 15 in the final frame, including the last 13 points of the game for Cleveland. King James, who is third in the league in scoring, has now shot 50 percent or better from the floor in 10 straight games, and is averaging 9.8 rebounds and 9.8 assists over his last five contests.

 

Kevin Love recorded another double-double. He had 20 points (on 7-of-12 shooting), 11 boards, two assists, and three triples… J.R. Smith scored 17 points with five rebounds, two assists, three steals and four 3-pointers in 34 minutes. He’s scored in double figures in four of his last five… Channing Frye dislocated his right middle finger on Saturday but was available to return.

 

After a dud on Friday night, Tyreke Evans bounced back in a big way on Saturday. Evans poured 31 points, dished out 12 dimes and pulled down seven boards. Evans also knocked down five triples and made all eight of his free throws. As long as he stays healthy, he will continue to flirt with top-50 overall value… Marc Gasol was a game-time decision for this contest due to an ankle injury, but suited up and logged a game-high 41 minutes Saturday night. He finished with 27 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer… Brandan Wright re-aggravated his groin injury on Friday and was unable to play Saturday. Chandler Parsons (right knee and ankle soreness) did not suit up Saturday and will also miss Monday’s matchup vs. the Timberwolves. He’s expected to return on Wednesday.

 

Philadelphia 76ers 108, Detroit Pistons 103:
Joel Embiid got into an entertaining war of words with Andre Drummond leading into this matchup, but backed up the trash talk with his play on the floor. Embiid scored 25 points with 10 rebounds, one steal and six turnovers in 32 minutes. He also took great pleasure in drawing the fifth and sixth fouls on Drummond late in the game. After the final buzzer, the two bigs hugged it out and told reporters it was all in good fun… Ben Simmons had a relatively disappointing evening. He scored just five points on 2-of-6 shooting and committed four turnovers, but added 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks. It was the first time in his young career that Simmons failed to crack double-digits in scoring. Free-throw shooting will continue to be an issue (he ran to the corner when the Pistons were looking to foul late in the fourth), but Simmons will continue to rack up remarkably impressive counting stats on a nightly basis.

 

Robert Covington came into Saturday night in a nasty slump. He was just 9-of-36 from the floor, including 4-of-24 from deep, over his last three games. However, RoCo got back on track on Saturday. He was 6-of-13 from downtown en route to 25 points. He also registered eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks… T.J. McConnell (shoulder) missed his second straight game on Saturday. He’s dealing with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. Fortunately, an MRI revealed no structural damage, but he is still very sore.

 

Reggie Jackson scored a season-high 25 points and chipped in three rebounds, four assists and two 3-pointers in 29 minutes. Coming off an injury-riddled 2016-17 campaign, many fantasy folks (myself included) shied away from R-Jax on draft day. Well, Jackson has been playing surprisingly well since opening night. The most impressive aspect of his play this season has been his efficiency and accuracy. He’s currently shooting 46.7 from the floor, 37.0 percent from downtown and 89.4 percent from the free-throw line. All three marks represent career highs.

 

Andre Drummond didn't get the win over his rival but certainly held his own. Dre finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, five steals and one block. It’s just the fourth time this season a player has had at least five steals, five assists and a points-rebound double-double in the same game. The other three players to accomplish this feat are Russell Westbrook, James Harden and LeBron JamesTobias Harris scored a team-high 27 points (on 9-of-15 shooting), knocked down three treys, and pulled down seven boards.


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